Saturday, April 1, 2017

90+Cellars Lot 94 Napa Cab

Ninety Plus Cellars "Lot 94" Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

I wrote a feature on Ninety Plus Cellars and their negociant business where they buy excess fruit from growers, or bulk wine, or in some cases bottled but unlabeled wine from producers, and bottle or release it under their own private label series. Once in a while this results in an extraordinary value in a wine offered at a fraction of the original producer's or grower's offering price, hence the need to keep the source secret and release under their own or private label. This Lot 94 may be such a wine.

The challenge of course is that you can't get too attached to a wine because there may not be a follow on vintage, or there may be sporadic intermittent releases every couple of years, or perhaps only in lesser years when the quality of the product is not up the standards for the primary label. Or, you may get lucky, and the producer has excess inventory or product available and is eager to release it to a trusted outlet. 

Ninety Plus Cellars have built an extensive brand with an extensive selection of wines from around the world, released under their own label. Their nomenclature of the Lot number for any particular wine indicates the source of the product so consumers can identify such from one vintage to the next. The challenge of course is that true identity of the source is not revealed, although there are times when it can be determined, either through mis-steps in the packaging (once the bottles had already been filled and corked with corks branded by the original producer), or there have been times when the original wine can be determined by the unique blend of the vintage.

There have been several Ninety Plus wines that I have discovered where I acquired all that I could obtain to keep for enjoyment and value over time, Lot 101, Washington State, Columbia Valley Syrah was one such example.

Ninety Plus Cellars "Lot 94" Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

According to Ninety Plus Cellars, "This distinguished Cabernet Sauvignon was made from fruit picked from vines situated on the east side of the valley in a vineyard that was first planted in the 1890s. Upon alluvial and volcanic soils these densely planted vines produce Cabernet Sauvignon that makes some of the best wine in Napa. This is an all-star Cabernet with a pedigree that's unrivaled by anything we've put in a bottle."

They assert that the offering price for the wine under the source producer's label is double the price of the discounted private label. That may indeed be the case. In any event, I'll testify that this is a high QPR - quality price ratio, great value wine that is comparable to product twice its price.

This was one of the wines of the week, featured at the Saturday tasting of local Vin Chicago outlet. So it was, that after tasting at the Vin Chicago Saturday tasting, I grabbed a couple bottles to bring home and try again with different foods or accompaniments. I expect I'll be going back to buy more for great value high quality every day drinking, as well as for special occasions.

This was dark garnet colored, medium bodied, complex sweet black currant and berry fruits, with notes of mocha, herbs, tobacco and hints of spicy oak and vanilla with a smooth polished finish.
I look forward to opening a bottle to taste with a savory meal.

RM 91 points.

Cune Rioja Reserva 2010

Cune Rioja Reserva 2010

I first wrote about this wine after tasting it at Son Ryan's and then buying some for our consumption. This Cune Rioja Reserva is a Tempranillo based blend.  As I wrote in my review of this wine back at the time,  Cune is actually named after the initials of the production company, C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España). By their testament, this is produced in the style of "a red ‘clarete’ wine was made as a fine wine in the style of the Bordeaux “Claret” produced by the great chateaux’s of the Medoc." While we picked up the initial bottles of this 2010 vintage release at Binny's, our local beverage superstore, this is now on the floor at Vin Chicago, our other local discount wine merchant.

 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Reserva 2010

Dark garnet colored, medium bodied, well balanced acidic backbone, smooth and polished, nicely integrated oak flavors predominate, forward dark berry fruits and soft floral accentuate the classic Rioja smoky creosote with hints of vanilla on a lingering finish.

This is a blend of Tempranillo: 85%, Grenacha, Graciano and Mazuelo 15%.

RM 90 points.